Elisabetta Polenghi, who had been tirelessly hunting for the truth behind her brother Fabio's death during the bloody crackdown on red shirts in May 2010, passed away from pancreatic cancer in Milan, Italy, on Monday. She was 51.
The news of her death was first announced on Prachatai.com online newspaper yesterday. Elisabetta, a professional photographer like her late brother, became a human rights activist after Fabio’s killing and has since been active on social media.
Her loss was felt deeply by those who knew her and many expressed condolences and praise for her on Twitter. Elisabetta visited Bangkok several times to pursue the inquest into Fabio’s death, but in vain. In frequent interviews with Thai and foreign media, she also criticised the Army and the then-Abhisit Vejjajiva administration for its handling of the protest.
“[Elisabetta] was as brave as they come, courageous and will be missed,” red-shirt lawyer Robert Amsterdam tweeted yesterday after learning about her untimely death.
Elisabetta repeatedly told The Nation that she believed the Army was behind the shooting of her brother when it led the final crackdown, though she insisted she was not seeking revenge and hoped the Army would become more professional.
“I like to thank those who remember my brother’s case and my willingness to go on fighting for life,” the last tweet from Elisabetta on April 12.